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Stained glass

This is as simple as I could make it!

Well, the first project for my stained glass class is finally all cut, pieced, and ready to solder. I can’t say I’m particularly happy with it, and I’m going to try a bit harder on my next one. I know I’m being ridiculous about it. How can it be a perfect stained glass panel when I’ve never done it before? But there it is: I’m not happy because it’s not perfect. So I need to work harder. The next project is copper foil, whatever that means, and I also need to come up with a 3D design for a final project, like a stained glass box or lampshade. We’ll see how that goes. No matter what, I plan for the next project to look a lot better!

I’m not always such a perfectionist. Really, I’m not, only with things that I actually enjoy doing. I kept this panel as simple as I could because it was my first time. I first have to see if I can do something before I’ll put my heart into the second attempt. I had an idea that I could weave because I’d had some experience of it with my childhood potholder loom. It’s not on the same level as a multi-shaft loom, but the idea, at its very basic form, is the same. You’re going over-under-over-under parallel threads to make fabric. No matter what loom you use, that’s what you’re doing. And I bought lots of books, asked lots of questions on Ravelry and Weavolution, joined both the local and national guilds, and took a lesson so I could at least dress the loom. With spinning, I watched tons of videos, bought more books, subscribed to a magazine, and took Anansi to a guild meeting to ask questions. With knitting and crocheting, I learned the basics as a child. Learning more intricate techniques has me buying more books and asking more questions. Beadwork  and Kumihimo I did the same way: I taught myself from a book, then added to my knowledge with more books and lots of questions to more experienced beaders and braiders. There’s a pattern here, I think!

But I’ve never taken a class in any of those things. This is a first for me, all the way across the board. My electives at college were always writing or language classes. I never really took any art classes of any kind. As much as I like color and different forms of art, it didn’t have any place in my life plan. I was going to be either a veterinary technician or a veterinarian when I grew up, and that was my only focus when I went back to school before the children.

I’m in the process of reassessing everything. The diagnosis of FAI (femoral acetabular impingement) in my left hip made it necessary. The long and the short of it it, the ball of my femur is too big to fit in the hip joint properly, resulting in the loss of range of motion and lots of pain. Apparently, this is common in women in their late thirties to early forties. I’m just lucky that way, I guess. Not. Anyway, yes, the problem can be corrected with surgery, but since so many doctors blew me off when I talked about my hip, it went undiagnosed for years, so now there’s “significant” arthritis in the hip. What fun.

So the upshot is, I gave in and got my parking tag for my car, and long discussion with the hubby brought us to the conclusion that maybe the veterinary field isn’t the way to go. The idea of tackling that 150 pound Rottweiler is probably a bad one. The problem is, I love it. I loved working in a vet clinic with the animals. I loved every bit of it. I loved being involved in the care of the animals. I wanted this field since I first read All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot when I was about seven. I wanted it even more when I watched my dog have puppies three days before her scheduled spay back in 1999! Trust me, if you have never seen it, it is the most awesome thing you will ever see, barring a human birth. Yes, parts of it are fairly gross to those with sensitive stomachs, but it’s an amazing process!

As an aside, I am compelled to also say that I am not, in the least, advocating breeding your dog unless you are planning to breed responsibly. In other words, spay and neuter your pets. There are enough unwanted pets put to sleep in this country every day. I have nothing against breeders who are responsible. I wish there were more like them. If you’re going to breed…well, let’s not go there. My dogs have all been altered. I made sure of it. Anyone who thinks they’re going to make a ton of money by breeding needs to have a conversation or two with some established breeders. I have friends who are responsible breeders, and there isn’t a rich one among them. Rant over; we will now return to our regularly scheduled program.

So, like I said, I’m reassessing my life plan, now that there’s a better-than-good possibility that my previous one is off the table. I’m looking at the things I like to do. I don’t need to get rich. I have a disability income, which covers the bills, but only stretches so far. Hubby is talking about putting in a small workshop in the basement where he can make fiber arts tools and do the woodwork he likes to do. He wants me to be able to do stained glass at home. About the only stained glass tool I haven’t yet bought is a grinder, and he’s already said that he will buy one if I want to continue with it. It has possibilities. I’ve asked for opinions on Ravelry about careers in fiber arts. As a way to make a living, it doesn’t seem like the way I want to go. I don’t want to wind up hating it. I don’t want to be a production, commercial weaver. More than likely, I will simply supplement the income by putting things into an Etsy storefront, when I’m good enough. I’m told I have a knack for the fiber arts, so I will get good enough! So nothing is yet set in concrete.

I like the stained glass class. I may continue to take it. I’m very close to an Associate of Arts degree. I may just continue on to a Bachelor of Arts. I might continue until I’m good enough to teach weaving or spinning or whatever else. Who knows? Certainly not me. Omniscience disappeared the second maturity hit. I now know enough to know I don’t know. Ya know?

I kept this first project as simple as possible, so to me, it looks like my seven-year-old did it. I’d like to do something truly beautiful the next time around. Hubby saw the picture and insists that we’re going to hang it anyway. One of my classmates, who’s in the advanced class, told me that she hated her first project so much she threw it out. I have to say, looking at my own, I’m inclined to agree with her solution, but I’ve already been outvoted there, so it’ll be hung. Hopefully somewhere that I won’t see it constantly!

I’m thinking that I’m going to measure one of my smaller windows for the next project. Ambitious, me? Naaaaaah. On the other hand, looking around, I don’t have much in the way of smaller windows, and I’m limited to a time frame in which to get it done. Have to do some thinking here!

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